Luna Park opened in 1905 on the corner of Craig Street
and Center Avenue. The park was constructed and owned by
Frederick Ingersoll who was from the Pittsburgh area.
Ingersoll built the first chain of amusement parks that
were known as “Luna Parks”. The Pittsburgh location was
the first in the chain out of nearly 50 others.
The park operated from 1905 to 1909 and featured roller
coasters, a Ferris wheel, shoot-the-chutes, a dance
hall, picnic pavilions, a concert shell, carousels,
bumper cars and more. One of the more odd attractions
was the baby incubator exhibit, a common practice at
that time. The baby incubator exhibit was a sideshow
attraction that allowed visitors to witness the growth
and development of premature babies in shiny steel
incubators. The practice of putting them in amusement
parks helped bring attention to premature babies and
raised money for the technology. Luna Park was just one
of many parks in the United States to feature the
exhibit during the early 1900’s.
Ingersoll was struggling to keep up with the expenses of
maintaining the parks and first filed for bankruptcy in
1908. Luna Park in Pittsburgh closed the following year.
He filed for bankruptcy again in 1911 and eventually
committed suicide in 1927. He was inducted into the
International Association of Amusement Parks (IAAPA)
Hall of Fame in 1992 for his contributions to the
amusement park industry.
Article by Meg O’Malley
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